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Aug 10, 2011

Greenland Hotel and Restaurant review

If anyone following my blog is interested in specific information about our recent trip to Greenland, below are some reviews of the hotels and restaurants we visited. I hope this is helpful.
Nuuk:
Hotel Seamen's Homes. Very clean and friendly. I love the view of the harbor, I think this is a key differentiator for this hotel. Our 3.5 year-old loved seeing the cranes lift the big containers. Also, he was excited to see that the dock workers came to have breakfast at the hotel, this was great entertainment for him! The only caveat is that the hotel is 20-30 minutes walk from the center, not necessarily an issue unless it rains a lot (which happened to us).

Restaurant: Godthaab Bryghus. In the city center. Great muskox dishes and good service. Kid menu and crayons. Comfortable settings. Unfortunately, I don't drink beer, so I can't speak to this, but I know that my husband ordered several Godthaab Bryghus beers through the rest of our stay, so it has to be OK.

Kangerlussuaq:
Hotel Polar Lodge from World of Greenland: The main benefit of the hotel is that it's walking distance from the airport. It's pretty small: 12 very basic rooms with shared bathroom. (We got the biggest room and with 2 kids, we literally had no room to move!). That said, all buildings in Kangerlussuaq, and the other 3 hotels, look like big containers anyways, so I am not sure if the comfort in other hotels is much different... and they are harder to reach. The hotel was still decent. It was very well heated and we got Nutella and fresh bread for breakfast (what else can we ask for?)
World of Greenland also organizes the expeditions to the Russell Glacier (great, but beware bumpy road), the Muskox safari (not worth it) and others.

We ate most of our meals at the airport cafeteria, which offers a decent range of food, from light sandwiches to muskox burger and hearty dishes... and endless entertainment for the kids with planes coming in and out.

Roklubben restaurant: It's located about 5 miles from the center, by the small lake nearby (they pick up patrons with a shuttle). It was good food and a great view to the lake. That said, the service was very slow and rude. They completely frowned at us when we asked for bread because we had been waiting for our food for 20 minutes and the kids were passing out (this was the day of our big hike to the Russell Glacier and Daniel was really starting to feel the effects of his long hike). This made for a grumpy and stressful dinner, which we would certainly have loved to avoid.

Ilulissat
Hotel Hvide Falk: Good hotel with standard rooms, bright and clean. We enjoyed the fact that the hotel was in central location, which was a big plus considering that we were relying on our 3.5 year-old to walk everywhere with us. The other 2 hotels in Ilulissat are much further away. The hotel service was great. They helped us organize a boat excursion on a somewhat short notice; they extended our check out time, so that we could let the kids nap before starting our journey back to the US.
They also have a good restaurant, which superb views to the sea. Breakfast in decent and dinner menu includes a lot of yummy local food (muskox, reindeer and a variety of fish dishes). They also have a kids menu.

Restaurant Marmamut: This is a must-try in Ilulissat. The positioning of the restaurant is modern greenlandic cuisine, and it's really excellent. We tried whale carpaccio and various innovative seafood dishes, that we all enjoyed. Even the desserts could have competed with any decent French restaurants. The restaurant is a little bit of a walk from the city center and it's on a hill, and it has great views of the sea. What sealed the deal for us was that they brought a big box of toys for the kids in the middle of dinner (granted we were the only customers left because it was late). This all of a sudden made such a difference in how we enjoyed our 3-couse dinner. The kids hadn't had the chance to play with real toys since the beginning of our trip, so they had a blast with simple cars and dolls. They had started to become impatient and grumpy and this completely distracted them. This was the best meal in our entire trip!

Reykjavik (Iceland)
Since Greenland can only be reached through Denmark or Iceland, we ended up spending 2 nights in Reykjavik, one at the beginning and one at the end. We stayed in 2 different hotels.
Keflavik Bed & Breakfast. Despite the name, this is a major operation. The hotel is located in an old military house, and it's big. When we arrived at the airport, the shuttle was waiting for 18 people from the same flight (and it had a trailer to put all the luggage in it!) The hotel is really close to the airport, which is a great advantage, and the operations seem to run smoothly. We were able to check in very quickly. The rooms are very standard but clean and large (probably the largest we had for the 4 of us in our entire trip). There is a fitness room, a pool room and a couple of other services.

Centerhotels. Avoid at any cost, please. The management is incompetent and irresponsible. We were expecting to arrive late at the hotel due to our flight schedule. I had informed over email that we would be late, but this wouldn't be a no show. We needed the room to sleep. even for just a couple of hours, before heading to our next flight. I had received a response that it would be no problem and the reception would be open 24/7. We arrived, with 2 sleepy kids and tired adults and the front desk person told us that there was no room for us! They had "upgraded" us to another hotel of their chain, and we had to take another taxi to get to the other hotel. This, in the middle of the night, during Gay Pride! It took us 20 minutes to even get a hold of a taxi, and by then we were so irritated. They had ripped us of 10% of the sleep we would be able to get that night, the kids were so unhappy, and the front-desk manager just kept saying there was nothing he could do. We ended up asking them to book us into a different hotel, where the location would be more convenient (since we had to find another room anyways). I am still trying to negotiate to get a partial refund for this awful customer service, but without success so far. Not a good track record. If this blog article can be useful to anyone, I hope this will be about avoiding Centerhotels in Reykjavik.

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